Arriving in Australia from England with master tapes in hand, Rik Swinn soon scored a deal with Festival Records' Parole label as the Venetians. Recorded with producer Vic Coppersmith-Heaven, the Venetians released the synth pop singles "Sound on Sound"/"Son Sur Son" (May 1983) and "Chinese I's"/"Fundamental Principles" (November). A backing band was put together and the Venetians began touring. Their third single, "Ooh la La"/"Things," was released in November 1984, followed by their debut album, Step Off the Edge, in May 1985. The band's popularity continued to grow and the album produced the single "Shine the Light"/"If London Were Venice" in February.
Their second album, Calling in the Lions, showed the band's continued growth, and also saw their biggest hit, "So Much for Love"/"10," which peaked at number three on the national charts in March 1986. It was followed by several singles: "Inspiration"/"Here Comes the Rain" (March 1986), "If Somebody Loves You"/"Voices" (June), and "Let It All Go"/"Ooh la La" (October). A tour followed with the Church and Chrysalis Records issued Calling in the Lions and the single "So Much for Love" in the U.S.
With the departure of Matthew Hughes in 1987, the Venetians spent the next year recording their third album, Amazing World. It produced three singles, "Amazing World" (November 1987), "Bitter Tears"/"Heartbeat" (May 1988), and "Must Believe"/"Looks Like Love" (September), but the chart success of Calling in the Lions wasn't to be repeated and the band broke up the following year.